On 13.01.2023, the House of Representatives have passed the bills that amend and modernize the Family Courts Law (23/1990), the Attempted Conciliation and Spiritual Dissolution of Marriage (22/1990) and the Marriage Law (104(I)/2003).
In this article we are going to summarize the most important changes and/or amendments of the Family law. This is the first time since 1983 that we have amendments of the Family law in Cyprus and it is a turning point that will make the procedures faster and more efficient for the courts and for the parties.
In respect to the Family Courts Law (23/1990) the amendments have a purpose to simplify and expedite the procedures of how the cases are handled. The judges will have the jurisdiction to hear all cases that are before the Family Courts between the same parties. Also, the current composition of three judges to the Family Courts in divorce cases will be overruled and now after the implementations of the new amendments, divorces will be issued by only one judge.
Another huge amendment that will simplify and make the procedures faster is that the parties can file only one application to the Family court for the maintenance, parental responsibility, the use of family housing and movable properties. With this amendment the cases that are filed at the Family Court due to the different applications will be reduced significantly, but also will make it easier and less expensive for the parties as the legal fees and/or out of pocket expenses will decrease to 1/4th.
Further to the above the new amendments regarding the Attempted Conciliation and Spiritual Dissolution of Marriage (22/1990) have aimed to modernize the procedures of the spiritual dissolution of religious marriage. Until now the deadline for filing the application of the dissolution of marriage after the notice was 3 months, after the amendment of the law, this is reduced to 6 weeks. The procedure of the notice will change too based on the amendments and now the parties have the option to send the notice through the website of the Holy Archdiocese of Cyprus instead of sending a notification and/or notice to the competent bishop that they want to proceed with the dissolution of the marriage. Also, we need to point out that another amendment that is extremely important to the abovementioned law is that if the dissolution of a marriage, is based on violence the applicant (party) has the right to file straight away an application to the court without the need to send the notification and/or notice as stated above. The only requirement that has to be fulfilled in order for the applicant not to send the notification they will have to provide to the court the complaint that has been filed to the police or to the Social Welfare Services in respect to the violence and/or incident. The police or the Social Welfare Services will provide to the applicant a certificate.
Finally, with reference to the amendments of Marriage Law (104(I)/2003) one of the improvements that the amendments provided are on the grounds of divorce by mutual consent. If the spouses want to proceed with the dissolution of their marriage on the grounds of mutual consent they can, but there is a time limit which is at least 6 months have elapsed since the date of the marriage and if they are any minors involved the parties have to make an agreement in order to regulate the parental responsibility and contact of the minors. Also, in respect to have irrefutably presumed breakdown of the relationship of the spouses based on the new amendments of the law is reduced from 4 to 2 years. Within the period of 2 years of the breakdown, vacations are not affecting the period of the breakdown of the relationship if they were attempts to resolve the issues of their marriage and may not exceed of 3 months.
In conclusion, all of the above are just summaries of the amendments of the law that can help the courts and the parties.
What is stated above is for informational purposes only and our law firm will not be responsible for any misunderstandings and/or misinformation. Our law firm is undertaking Family Law cases of all kinds and each case is treated differently.